“A drama about “female millennials” and the gentrification of Latin American spaces: that was the pitch that Tanya Saracho, who had already written for the zeitgeisty HBO series Girls and Looking, approached by the up-and-coming TV network Starz in 2016.
Saracho took the concept and made sure that an all-Latino, almost all-female and predominantly queer team wrote, directed, composed and edited the series – the result is Vida (available on Starz in Australia), a series that makes no apologies for eschewing details to create a refreshing, vibrant environment. That, indeed, means that if you’re not Queer and Latinx, you’re probably going to miss a lot of jokes or innuendos. You may not be able to follow the character code-switching without subtitles in LA Spanglish.
But it is all the better that the show does not have a mid-episode tutorial on why “pocha” is so offensive or what the non-binary identification of an individual means to them, since the show is too busy to slow down. Set in LA’s historic Latino suburb of Boyle Heights, Vida focuses on two sisters who return home after the death of their estranged mother, Vidalia, who they remember had a long-time lesbian girlfriend. Teenage Bounty Hunters: a new, smart and humorous series that subverts expectations. Soon another would overshadow this secret: the house they inherit is immensely in debt. Their mother declined to increase the rents, and because of their gay patrons, the bar was deserted by the older residents. At first, older sister Emma (Mishel Prada) is ready to sell, defy gentrification, and return to her Chicago business life, where she frees herself with a lot of kinky queer sex, while her goals are disrupted by returning home.
Lynn (Melissa Barrera), meanwhile, a “free spirit” who depends on her looks against her better judgement, sees an opportunity to make something of her life…. Emma struggles to interact with both her queerness and her heritage as they turn the bar from a trashy dive into Vida, a sanctuary for queer Latinx artists and culture, as her Type-A recklessness has led her to withdraw from everything that could stand in her way.
Lynn, meanwhile, is trying to find sense with her hand in a classic LA “fusion,” combining rituals with patterns, both in the bar and in her life.
Poor romantic and business choices come and go, but the one constant in the three seasons of Vida are the powers that want to see her fail.
It’s not about greedy managers of land.
In a number of ways, members of a local Latinx advocacy group oppose the bar, seeing the sisters as “coconuts” (“white on the inside”) who come home for benefit only. Vida never lands on one side of the debate.
Instead, he echoes the challenging fact that queer spaces are always the first step in gentrification, when one oppressed group draws from another, even though you belong to both worlds, like Emma (or her mother). We get to see it from all angles, a nuance that balances the occasional clutter of the series. Whip It: Is the 2009 directorial debut of Drew Barrymore one of the best-cast teen films of all time? Vida is a surprisingly light series about calm, confused sorrow, despite the noise and mild overzealousness of 22 half-hour episodes. Despite her inherited financial and emotional debts, the sisters are determined to honor their mother, and that sentiment echoes through Vida’s characters in the ways most attempt to stay linked to their community under compromised circumstances. Ironically, after facing complaints about their own involvement, Vida’s production team began shooting outside of Boyle Heights as much as possible, unless the production team began shooting outside of Boyle Heights There is no answer here, but a lot to ponder about – Vida is streaming on Stan in Australia